Jim Smart
June 1, 2009

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Total Control Products was one of the first on the scene with an awesome aftermarket suspension system for classic Mustangs. In the beginning, TCP was a small mom-and-pop operation with great potential. When Chris Alston's Chassisworks assumed control, product availability and quality went through the roof thanks to Alston's resources and engineering technology. Selection for classic Mustang buffs has never been better.

There's no magic or mystery to electronic fuel injection. Plug-and-play conversion kits are available from Painless Performance and Ron Morris Performance, as two examples. All you need is the induction system as your foundation and go from there. You will also need O2 bungs in each side of the exhaust system at the manifold or header.

3 Electronic Engine Control
Electronic fuel injection was intimidating when it came to Mustangs in the 1980s. After all, who understood it? However, over time, most of us grew to understand and appreciate it because it made new Mustangs perform better and netted improved fuel economy as well. Troubleshooting became easier with time and knowledge. About 20 years ago, someone got the idea to install electronic engine control in classic Mustangs. Ron Bramlett of Mustangs Plus tried it on a '66 Mustang with a 289. Danny Bahn of D.B. Performance Engineering fitted an entire 5.0L High Output V-8 with five-speed in his '65 Mustang hardtop. These folks were pioneers of fuel-injection in vintage Mustangs. It was a lot more challenging for them because plug-and-play conversion kits weren't available at the time. Instead, they had to find late-model donor cars and powertrains, then learn how the darned thing went together and worked. Today, it's easier.

4 Sports Seats
If you're seeking comfort and good looks from your classic Mustang's interior, here's a modern yet retro mod you can live with and enjoy. The TMI Sports Seat takes your Mustang's existing bucket seats and gives them side bolsters to provide good side support along with comfortable lumber support. Remember that three-day trip you took in an old Mustang when you were in college and how miserable it was? Well, forget all about it because the TMI Sport Seat softens up the ride and yields plenty of comfort. Also, the adjustable headrest protects your neck and back.

5 Pertronix Ignitor
It's the best single modification you can make to a classic Mustang for under $100. That's what we called the PerTronix Ignitor when it first came out nearly 20 years ago. You can install the electronic conversion in 30 minutes. Don't forget to keep your Autolite distributor's ground strap connected or it may not start--or it could quit unexpectedly. In other words, read the instructions included with the kit.

6 Lighting Technology
Few things have improved classic Mustang safety quite like high-tech lighting. There is a wide selection of headlight options ranging from the Tri-Bar system to Xenon to economical Halogen. Elsewhere, you have a huge variety of LED (light emitting diode) retrofit kits for taillights, interior lighting, and instrument lighting.

There are a couple of different types of five-speed manual transmissions available for classic Mustangs. This is the Tremec TKO 3550 five-speed with hydraulic clutch. It will take quite a pounding from a high-performance small-block. However, if you're running a sedate little 289 or 302, a Tremec T5 is a perfect fit. Don't forget that small-block Fords prior to '82 have 28-ounce offset balance flywheels. From '82-up, 50-ounce offset balance. This is crucial to smooth operation.

7 Overdrive
Nothing improves fuel economy in a vintage Mustang better than an overdrive transmission, either a five-speed manual or an AOD automatic. Slip your classic Mustang into overdrive and lower engine rpm dramatically. If your Mustang has 3.00:1 gears, you're talking 3,000 rpm at 70 mph. If you swap up to 3.55:1 gears and install overdrive, you get 2,000 rpm at 70 mph. What's more, your Mustang will accelerate harder due to the mechanical advantage in the tunnel.

There are two basic types of AOD transmissions--mechanical with throttle valve cable ('80-'92) or computer controlled ('93-up, known as the 4R70W).